Clearly the world cannot function forever using “fossil fuels” in the way it currently uses them. Society recognizes the need for alternative fuel sources. But could it be that methane gas could be used in some new way as fuel?
At present, methane gas is not viewed in too favorable a light. But sometimes a bane can be turned into a boon, depending upon how one deals with a matter.
Methane is disparagingly referred to as a “greenhouse gas.” This is due to its being released into the atmosphere by biological sources, where its excess promotes global warming. Of these, we will address two main sources: cattle methane and termite methane.
Better Out Than In
The National Geographic News web site listed below cites the EPA as saying ruminant livestock release about 28 percent of the methane that enters earth’s atmosphere.
Going Buggy – Termite Methane
To a lesser extent—about 6 percent—methane gas is produced by the lowly termite. Some of the methane produced by cattle is harvested, but is it possible termite methane could also be produced artificially, harvested, and put to good use?
Perhaps so if someone devised a viable termite methane generator.
I am not the only one who has thought of this, the same National Geographic article refers to the work of Jared Leadbetter and colleagues at Diversa, Inc., along with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, and Costa Rica’s National Biodiversity Institute.
Even though I am not the only one to have thought of the idea, clearly termite methane as a viable fuel has not been put to use. Maybe someone with financial clout will consider the possibility? Or are all of earth’s billions in the hands of wastrels?
Note: You might also enjoy Spacecraft Invisibility: Is Cloaking Possible?
- Journal of Animal Science: Methane emissions from cattle
- ABC Science: Methane myth gives cattle a bum steer
- National Geographic News: Termite Power: Can Pests’ Guts Create New Fuel?